History of Star Hurley
The Star Hurley, or Dowling hurls as it is commonly known as in Kilkenny, is recognised as
Ireland’s leading hurl due to the time that is put into each hurl to ensure that the hurl that is
placed in each customer’s hand is of the highest quality and to the specifications outlined by
each customer. Today each hurl is finished as Ramie would have in 1963 using hand planes
and spokeshaves, some of which were used by Ramie himself.
The first Star Hurley was crafted by Ramie Dowling in 1963. Ramie was a talented hurler. He
most notably hurled with Kilkenny at minor and senior level and Eire Og at club level where
he won senior county championships. Ramie played in All-Ireland finals at both senior and
minor level during his hurling career. Ramie played in the 1939 All-Ireland Minor Hurling
Final where Kilkenny were defeated by Tipperary. Ramie then graduated to the Kilkenny
senior panel where he lined out as goalkeeper as Kilkenny were defeated by Tipperary on a
scoreline of 1-09 to 1-08 in the 1950 All-Ireland final. Ramie initially learned his craft with
his father-in-law, renowned Kilkenny hurley-maker Tom Neary who first made hurls in 1908.
Since 1963 many well-known club and inter-county hurlers throughout Ireland and further
afield have used The Star Hurl.
Following Ramie’s retirement his sons Brian continued to make hurls in the well-known
workshop in Patrick Street in Kilkenny City, initially with his brother Tom before Brian’s son
Mark joined him in the business. Brian is well-known for the attention to detail he puts into
each hurl he makes. Ramie’s grandson’s David and Stephen have taken over the business
since 2020 becoming the 3 rd generation of Dowling’s to engage in the ancient craft of hurley-
making. David and Stephen began making hurls in 2002.